Taxpayer group warns of looming tax hike

Taxpayer group warns of looming tax hike

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior editor

The Illinois House may move closer to imposing a massive, statewide, property tax increase on state residents.

It was expected the House might vote as early as April 18 on Senate Bill 22, which cleared the Senate on April 5. The National Taxpayers United of Illinois, headed by Jim Tobin, said the bill would let school districts boost certain property tax extensions without referenda and thus open the way for the biggest property tax hike since 1995.

Tobin’s group said if the bill becomes law, a $250,000 house in Cook County would get an increase of $214 annually.

The bill was sponsored by senators Steven Rauschenberger, Elgin, and Larry Woolard, Sesser, and by Rep. Barbara Currie in the House. It exempts property tax extensions for fire prevention and other safety purposes.

There are some safeguards intended to limit the purposes for which school districts can implement property tax increases and a provision for a “back-door” referendum, a tool for stopping tax hikes.

Tobin and his group, however, have little confidence in these purported reforms. “The government schools have a history of abusing these sorts of loopholes to raise revenues for non-sanctioned purposes without the voters’ permission,” Tobin said.

“As for the so-called ‘back-door referendum’ provision,” he added, “a ‘back-door referendum’ is no referendum at all. It’s just a way for the government schools to sneak a property tax hike past the taxpayers in counties that are now protected by the property tax caps. Taxpayers are given just 30 days to gather thousands of signatures, and that’s if they catch the notice as soon as it’s published. It’s nearly impossible to defeat a property tax hike under those circumstances.”

Tobin said taxpayers need to stop the planned increase before it goes any further.

State officials and how to reach them

Rep. Doug Scott D-67, (815) 987-7433; Rep. Ron Wait – R-68, (815) 547-7771; Springfield (217) 782-0548; Rep. David Winters – R-69, (815) 282-0083; Springfield (217) 782-0455; Rep. David Wirsing – R-70, (815) 748-3494; Springfield (217) 782-0425; Sen. Dave Syverson – R-34, (815) 987-7555; Springfield (217) 782-5413; Sen. Brad Burzynski – R-35, (815) 987-7557; Springfield (217) 782-1977; Gov. George Ryan – R, Springfield: (217) 782-6830.

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